I Never Knew Yat

Following ye principle that one should learn someying new every day, here’s a little help for today’s lesson.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2922077

Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yeah, this somewhat similar to the Menzies/Mingis Campbell thing, which derives from the loss of the yogh as a printed character.

    The thorn is presumably how the T-V pattern common to pronouns in most Euroean language (tu/vous, etc) mutated from thee and thou to ye and you in English. There’s clearly at least two different ‘th’ sounds in English anyway – try saying path, then saying these, and try to say the ‘th’ sound in the exact same way in each.

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  2. Um, how is confusion in the writing system supposed to affect the spoken language in an *illiterate* society?

    “Ye,” “you,” “thou,” “thee” come from the Old English second-person pronoun. Originally, “thou/thee” were singular and “ye/you” plural (the pronunciation and spelling were different, too). Then, the plural forms became used as an honorific (T-V distinction). English then lost its familiar form, using “ye/you” in all situations and lost “ye” as the case system simplified as well.

    No spelling was involved.

    In a literate society, though, confusion *can* be created by spelling. For example, the (mostly) British convention of using “er” to represent a schwa in onomatopoeia and loan-words tricks Americans (and maybe Irish, Scots, and Welsh, too) into adding an “r” sound: “erm” is the British spelling of “um”–but pronounced exactly the same–and “juggernaut” has no “r” in the Hindustani original.

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